Here are some recently asked questions
Why are my undelivered parcels returned to Ware and not Buntingford Post Office? We have checked with Buntingford Post Office who say that if your undelivered parcel is returned to Ware you will receive a card giving you the option to either have the parcel re-delivered or left with a neighbour. For a small fee you can have your parcel delivered to Buntingford Post Office for collection.
I've just moved to Buntingford. How do I sort out my Council Tax & Refuse Collection for my new home? Welcome to Buntingford! Your Council Tax & Refuse Collection are both organised by East Hertfordshire District Council. They can be contacted via their website www.eastherts.gov.uk, or via phone on 01279 655261. You can either use an online form on their website to request a wheelie bin & arrange to pay your Council Tax or you can ring the number and ask for 'Waste & Recycling' or 'Council Tax'. You can also register to vote via East Herts Council.
If there are any other things you're unsure about, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help!
Will our Council Tax fall? Why is nothing simple? Unfortunately the answer isn't. Your Council Tax is made up of 4 elements - Herts County, East Herts District, Hertfordshire Police and the Parish (i.e. us). The first three elements are the same across the District, that is, every household pays the same amount in each band. Those three authorities control how much that is.
The Parish bit is called the Precept and that is controlled by Buntingford Town Council. For a number of years this has not risen and this tax element has been falling. In 2011 it was £114.58 per D band and in 2014 it will be £98.70 per annum. Since 2014, there has been no increase in the per annum charge. As more houses are built in the town, we hope this bit will carry on falling.
Our Street Light is still out! These are the responsibility of Herts Highways and we continue to report all lights we are notified of. The current Highways response would appear that due to its priorities, street lights are on a four week repair schedule at best. If you would like to report a fault yourself or keep track of a fault that has already been reported, visit https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/faultreporting/.
What can be done about shops closing? All retail outlets are private concerns and most lease their property from the local property owners. Unfortunately "Business is business" and unless they have sufficient customers, then they are unlikely to be able to afford the rents.
What's happening with the Monday Market? Throughout the country, markets are closing mainly due to out of town shopping and lack of local people using them. The Town Council has made a number of efforts to revitalise the market but has met with little success. There is no charge for the stall holders and some local clubs have taken advantage of this. Again, unless local residents use the Market, then the stallholders cannot make enough money to even cover the cost of getting here.
Affordable Housing FAQ's
Q: How do I get onto the East Herts' Affordable (Social) Housing Register?
A: Anyone can register electronically for social housing in Buntingford via the EHC website, www.eastherts.gov.uk or Home Option website www.homeoption.org. Points are awarded according to housing need based on the criteria listed below.
Waiting Points, District Connection: Residence and Employment in East Herts, Bedroom Requirements, Statutory Overcrowding, Shared facilities, Poor housing condition, Lack of Facilities, Caravans and mobile homes, Limited Means, Children or pregnancy, Medical Assessment, Additional Preference, Armed Forces, Foster and adopters, No fixed abode, Security of accommodation, Social Factors
Housing Register and Allocations Policy
Q: What is the difference between Market and Affordable (Social) Housing?
A: Market Housing is all housing that is available to purchase on the Open Market whether it be new build or already built housing stock.
Affordable (Social) Housing is, in East Herts, owned by a number of housing associations. New tenants are nominated to new Affordable Housing or existing affordable homes either by EHC's Home Options team if they are for rent or via a "Help to Buy" organisation if they are Shared Ownership homes.
Q: How is Affordable (Social) Housing allocated in Buntingford?
A: All developers who build new houses in Buntingford and East Herts as a whole, are normally required to split their sites into the following proportions, at least 60% Market Housing and 'up to' 40% Affordable (Social) Housing. This split is recognised in the Council's Planning policies.
The Affordable (Social) allocation is then split into two sub-categories, Shared Ownership (25%) and Affordable Rented (75%).
The exact percentage of affordable housing achieved and split is dependent on viability assessment submitted with the Planning application.
When Affordable Housing is developed on private site a Section 106 legal agreement is signed between East Herts and the developer which states that the rented Affordable Housing must be allocated to people on East Herts Council's Housing Register.
During the build process the private developer will contact housing associations with regards to purchasing the affordable housing on the site. The sale of the Shared Ownership homes is administered in East Herts by Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA). Anyone in the UK can register with BPHA but there are certain criteria that must be met for them to be allocated a house in this category.
The Affordable l Rented homes are managed by the successful Housing Association. At present the five main Housing Associations operating in East Herts are:
Riversmead – based in Hertford – www.riversmead.org.uk
Circle Housing South Anglia – based in Bishops Stortford - www.circle.org.uk
Aldwyck – based in Houghton Regis, Beds - www.aldwyck.co.uk
Paradigm – based in Chesham, Bucks - www.paradigmhousing.co.uk
High Town Praetorian – based in Hemel Hempstead - www.hightownha.org.uk
Anyone in the UK can register via Home Option www.homeoption.org to be placed on the housing register but the criteria for being allocated a house, is points based.
Housing Register and Allocations Policy
Q: How is it that people from outside East Herts are moving to Buntingford when our own residents can't get an Affordable (Social) house?
A: When Planning permission is granted on private developments in Buntingford, the new affordable housing is to meets District wide need. Anyone in the UK can register for housing through the East Herts website, Home Option www.homeoption.org and depending on the value of points allocated, based on circumstances, may be offered a house in Buntingford, if that is where they have indicated they would like to live. In practice only people with a connection to East Herts are allocated the affordable rented (non-elderly) accommodation because they meet the criteria for the award of local connection points.
Anyone can purchase an OPEN MARKET house in Buntingford. There may be some instances where a Housing Association may decide to purchase a block of housing from the OPEN MARKET allocation on a development and offer these to those who are registered on their housing list. The local council, be it EHC or Buntingford, has no control on who moves into these houses.
Q: How much would I be expected to pay per week for Affordable (Social) rented accommodation in Buntingford?
A: There is a maximum rent level operating in Buntingford at present but this may be subject to change
As a guide, for houses administered by a Housing Association in the northern part of East Herts the weekly rent payable is:
1 Bedroom - £122.36 per week
2 Bedrooms - £155.37 per week
3 Bedrooms - £186.46 per week
4+ Bedrooms - £238.80 per week.